Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Are you for or against Vatican II?
I have read that it takes 100 years for the work of church councils to be implemented and that we are about midway through the impact of the Second Vatican Council. That should neither discourage us nor settle us into contentment.
There are some people who argue against what took place at Vatican II and the ensuing New Evangelization. These people stand firm and hold onto the years before that church-wide gathering of the early 1960s. For others, they want to lay the past to rest and get on with it, advancing the work of the Council.
The key to resolving this conflict about pre or post Vatican II and where we should be, what is right or wrong, lies in correcting a tremendous misconception. We are erroneous when speaking in terms of before and after, if we intend to imply division. That is because the work of the Church is one fluid movement of the Holy Spirit.
Whatever came before, or after, is simply different ways of expressing the Church's understanding of its responsibility to dialogue with the world. How do we speak, or engage with those who are different from us? What is the message? Who's job is it to proclaim it?
Vatican II is a gift, an inspiration of the Holy Spirit to the People of God. We are stewards of that gift--all of us, religious and laity alike. Some of us--the laity--are just waking up to the realization that we, too, are a necessary part of the mission of the Church. No longer should we sit back, expecting our shepherds to do all the work.
There is a beautiful document that came out of Vatican II (Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity) that every layperson (non-ordained) should study and consider. You can read it here.
The interesting thing about the idea of us being midway in the process of implementing the Council's wisdom is that you and I have a wonderful opportunity to participate in something amazing!
You have gifts that God will use in order for the New Evangelization to make an impact on the world. What are your gifts? How should you use them? These are important questions for you to explore--for each of us to explore--so we can be assured of working in concert with the Holy Spirit in whatever way God wills.